Polar Biology

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 1055–1065

Biogeochemical conditions and ice algal photosynthetic parameters in Weddell Sea ice during early spring


    • Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre
  • S. Papadimitriou
    • School of Ocean Sciences, College of Natural SciencesBangor University
  • D. N. Thomas
    • School of Ocean Sciences, College of Natural SciencesBangor University
  • L. Norman
    • School of Ocean Sciences, College of Natural SciencesBangor University
  • G. S. Dieckmann
    • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-009-0605-6

Cite this article as:
Meiners, K.M., Papadimitriou, S., Thomas, D.N. et al. Polar Biol (2009) 32: 1055. doi:10.1007/s00300-009-0605-6


Physical, biogeochemical and photosynthetic parameters were measured in sea ice brine and ice core bottom samples in the north-western Weddell Sea during early spring 2006. Sea ice brines collected from sackholes were characterised by cold temperatures (range −7.4 to −3.8°C), high salinities (range 61.4–118.0), and partly elevated dissolved oxygen concentrations (range 159–413 μmol kg−1) when compared to surface seawater. Nitrate (range 0.5–76.3 μmol kg−1), dissolved inorganic phosphate (range 0.2–7.0 μmol kg−1) and silicic acid (range 74–285 μmol kg−1) concentrations in sea ice brines were depleted when compared to surface seawater. In contrast, NH4 + (range 0.3–23.0 μmol kg−1) and dissolved organic carbon (range 140–707 μmol kg−1) were enriched in the sea ice brines. Ice core bottom samples exhibited moderate temperatures and brine salinities, but high algal biomass (4.9–435.5 μg Chl a l−1 brine) and silicic acid depletion. Pulse amplitude modulated fluorometry was used for the determination of the photosynthetic parameters F v/F m, α, rETRmax and E k. The maximum quantum yield of photosystem II, F v/F m, ranged from 0.101 to 0.500 (average 0.284 ± 0.132) and 0.235 to 0.595 (average 0.368 ± 0.127) in the sea ice internal and bottom communities, respectively. The fluorometric measurements indicated medium ice algal photosynthetic activity both in the internal and bottom communities of the sea ice. An observed lack of correlation between biogeochemical and photosynthetic parameters was most likely due to temporally and spatially decoupled physical and biological processes in the sea ice brine channel system, and was also influenced by the temporal and spatial resolution of applied sampling techniques.


Sea ice Antarctic Weddell Sea Biogeochemistry PAM Photosynthesis Ice algae

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© Springer-Verlag 2009